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Gig Alert: Mandrill

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Playing Thursday at B.B. King’s Bar and Grill
(237 W. 42nd St., Midtown West)
Get: Tickets ($25) | Directions

In the exciting R&B and funk scene that exploded in the 1970s, no band was doing what Mandrill was doing.

The group, founded by three Panamanian-American brothers (Carlos, Lou and Ric Wilson) from Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy, made music that combined horn-driven funk with psychedelic rock and flower-power vibes. On classic tracks like “Fencewalk” and “Ape Is High,” Mandrill executed impeccable arrangements full of chunky B-3 organs, folksy guitars, soaring horns and hard-hitting drums.

Now, the Wilson brothers are back, touring with a new lineup that promises to at least approximate the band’s former glory. This song, “Sunshine” comes off a new Mandrill album, which is expected to be released this Fall. Whereas some present-day efforts from classic funk groups come off as hopelessly dated, Mandrill excels with this beautifully-produced, 8-minute long slowjam, which is chock full of giant harmonies, sexy vibraphones, enormous horns and soaring strings.


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Comments [1]

frank from Jersey City, NJ

Saw Mandrill at BB Kings last night. Awesome as expected. The energy is off the chain. They played more B sides than I would have wanted but Mandrill can basically pull off anything tastefully and with impeccable accuracy. The new touring group is a little louder than previous backup groups and it took away a bit from the intricate rhythms and melodies the Drill is noted for. To some extent the fault lies with BB Kings sound crew. Mandrill is not a group that needs heavy amplification and they just never seemed to strike a balance.
Nonetheless I love Mandrill and continue to support the group-its rare for me to miss an Northern East Coast engagement. They have an awesome DVD Live in Montreux that I highly recommend--it's a keeper. I continue to bring different generations of my family to experience music at it's best – "Git it All"

Aug. 12 2011 06:32 PM

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